Author Topic: Micro Trains Dropping HOn3?  (Read 5192 times)

railtwister

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Micro Trains Dropping HOn3?
« on: February 03, 2012, 10:37:19 AM »
I heard from my LHS that Micro-Trains has confirmed the rumor heard at the train show in Springfield last week that they are ceasing production of their HOn3 product line.

Bill in FL

SundayNiagara

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Re: Micro Trains Dropping HOn3?
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2012, 04:09:55 PM »
Anyone know of a mfr interested in buying them out?

pgandw

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Re: Micro Trains Dropping HOn3?
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2012, 06:18:16 PM »
From a friend who spoke directly with MT, they are not going to make any new products.  He was specifically asking MT to follow up with a C&S steel underframe box car and stock car.  MT said the expected sales never materialized for their HOn3 line.

Whether this means they will never run existing cars again is yet TBD in my eyes.

Fred W

railtwister

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Re: Micro Trains Dropping HOn3?
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2012, 10:42:50 PM »
Hi Fred,

Hopefully, they will continue producing existing items, but that remains to be seen. To date, it doesn't look very promising. According to the HOn3 Data sheet posted on their website, Micro-Trains' only HOn3 release in 2011 was the last log car in May, 2011. The year 2010 saw 3 reefers (Jan, Feb, & May), 3 Flats (Mar, Jul, Dec), 3 Gons (Apr, Jun, & Sept), and one log car in August. Assuming the Data Sheet is accurated, that's 10 cars in 2010, only 1 in 2011, and so far, none this year. Maybe this announcement will spur sales from those potential customers who were on the fence before, but now don't want to miss out if the HOn3 items are discontinued. Maybe if that happens, MTL will keep the production going, even if only at a trickle. A similar thing happened in the seventies when it was all known as Kadee and they announced that they would cease production of "N" scale cars, because the prices were being forced through the roof by rampant inflation. Back then, the cars were selling from $2.75 to $3.95 each. The production halt didn't last long (if it ever happened), and today the line is much expanded with many new body styles and prices much higher than $3.95. Personally,  I don't think the numbers in HOn3 today are anywhere near what the numbers were for N in the seventies, however.

Bill in FL
« Last Edit: February 12, 2012, 02:36:30 PM by railtwister »

pgandw

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Re: Micro Trains Dropping HOn3?
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2012, 11:05:36 AM »
I'm not in mainstream HOn3 - I model Oregon in 1900.  So neither Blackstone nor MT has catered to my wants/desires very well.

But almost all the rest of the club I belong to does model Colorado post-WW1.  And one member is an avid C&S guy, who has contacted MT on a regular basis.  As our C&S guy pointed out to MT, the C&S box cars were more widely traveled, ending up in Alaska, Hawaii, and on the RGS.

Micro-Trains apparently read the HOn3 market very differently than most of the rest of us.  The assumption was that their cars would achieve collector status, much like their N scale line did.  I don't know of many collectors in HOn3.  It's too much work and money to get a working layout going to be bothered with collecting cars and/or locomotives that have no place on our layouts.  And I think MT didn't understand that narrow gauge didn't travel from one line to another outside of Colorado.  There were sales of rolling stock from one line to another, but these would generally get repainted for the new home road.

Personally, I did bite on a few MT cars.  So I have a WP&Y reefer and a C&S reefer, as well as 2 log cars (I do model a narrow gauge logger come common carrier).  But none of these match my era or home road.  So the best I can do is use them as stand-ins until I get around to building more suitable rolling stock, or use them exclusively at the club. 

OTOH, Blackstone read the market better and avoided MT missteps.  They installed the little fiddly parts (not a big deal to me, but it is to some others), and they chose prototypes that were more usable among the HOn3 free-lancers.  The BS flat cars are not era-unique (not post-rebuild), and were available unlettered.  So I bought 2 as soon as I saw them.  I would have done the same for unlettered stock cars, even though those would have to be back-dated.

Which brings up the telling point - the MT cars gather dust on the LHS shelf, the BS cars sell rapidly (especially the unlettered).

my thoughts
Fred W

jackpine savage

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Re: Micro Trains Dropping HOn3?
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2012, 06:12:13 PM »
If they had only made C&S/RGS boxcars with correct lettering. They would have had a hit. What were they thinking? Most of the D&RGW guys would have bought the RGS boxes, just for the variety. Same for C&S/RGS stock cars, there are pictures of them in Alamosa in the 40's. They already had the frame, they really missed the boat.

WVMNut

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Re: Micro Trains Dropping HOn3?
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2012, 09:48:06 AM »
It would be nice if they remembered there was Eastern NG as well. None of them ever do it seems. C&BT shops doesn't make many of the hoppers anymore for EBT and they never made anything else. I know Dick is getting along in age and I'm surprised he hasn't sold the company by now to someone who'd produce more.

WVMNut

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Re: Micro Trains Dropping HOn3?
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2012, 02:08:59 PM »
Blackstone remembered! Just got my EBT hopper, no doubt I will order more as time and cash allow. Also, Jackson and Sharp passenger cars mean I can have a WVM passenger car as well. Well done to Blackstone.